“I guess it was just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” says Tijuana Rumble Fest organizer David Villegas. “This random crook popped out of nowhere and tried to pick a fight and I retaliated. It was a quick brawl and the guy disappears and the store clerk tells me I got stabbed. I pulled up my shirt and saw the blood and went into panic. Fortunately, I stumbled into my roommate a block away. I was losing blood fast and waited 40 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. I went to the hospital and waited about four hours. I was pretty sure I was going to depart from this world right there. I spent five days in the hospital. It was a living hell.”
Villegas was stabbed four times in the abdomen on May 1 at a convenience store on Tijuana’s party block known as La Sexta. He had been scouting bands at Moustache Bar for his second annual festival when he went to buy a soda, having gone sober after his 25th birthday a month earlier.
“I took another month’s recovery at my mom’s house, which was probably the most painful, physically and mentally,” Villegas recalls. “I didn’t sleep for two weeks straight. I wasn’t able to eat. I kept throwing up. I ended up losing 20-something pounds and had a hernia, which needed another surgery. Throughout the recovery process, I became more obsessed with making the next Rumble Fest a reality. It kept me motivated. I realized that I had this second chance to do things better, in life and in this fest. After that entire ‘rebirth’ process, I became a more mature human being. For me, this festival is my life, dude. It’s what matters most to me right now. I realized I’m part of a cultural movement that’s having a huge impact and will continue to have even more impact.”
Tijuana Rumble Fest 2015 will get shaking on December 5 (1 p.m.–2 a.m.) on the open-air sixth floor of downtown parking garage Estacionamiento la Pyramide (Calle 4 between Revolucíon and Constitución). The 16-band lineup continues with last year’s focus on spotlighting bands exclusively from Southern California and Northern Baja, including headliners Radio Moscow, the Schizophonics, Zig Zags, Furcast, and San Pedro el Cortez. (Hit up tijuanarumblefest.com/ for more.)
“My friends used to call me Danger Dave,” Villegas laughs. “Now I’m Decent Dave.”